“Well we’re movin on up to the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky. Movin on up to the east side. We finally got a piece of the pie.” The Jeffersons intro theme song
George Freeman (Courtney B. Vance) and Letitia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) are dancing in separate rooms to Movin On Up. George finds his favorite books while Leti finds a closet full of fabulous clothes that fit her. Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors) sits in his room apprehensively thinking about the events from last night. A bell rings, William (Jordan Patrick Smith) comes to get them for lunch. He informs Atticus that his father Montrose (Michael K. Williams) is in Boston and he doesn’t know any other details. Christina Braithwhite (Abbey Lee) told him to threat them like family. George asks about the massive mansion. William explains that Titus Braithwhite built the original lodge, but he died in the great fire that destroyed the original back in 1833. He says that the family made their fortune in ‘shipping’ which Leti says is code for slavery. William assures them that Titus was ‘kind’ to his servants. After he leaves, Leti rings for a butler to get her some salt, you know white folks don’t season their food properly. Atticus asks how can she eat after what happened last night. Both Leti and George don’t know what he’s talking about, they don’t remember any monsters.
They decide to go to the village to see if they can find Montrose, who they are sure isn’t in Boston. George’s car, Woody is in the garage, looking undamaged. Atticus asks William what he did to the car, William says he found the car just as it is. It makes Atticus story sound even crazier. While walking to the village, Leti and George talk behind Atticus’ back. They think he might be suffering from PTSD. Atticus hears them and says he is fine and what happened last night is true. He asks them don’t they think it’s weird that they had all of George’s favorite books, and all the outfits fitted Leti to a tee. Atticus hears a whistle that sounds like the whistle that called off the monsters last night. He runs towards the sound. A hostile white woman named Dell (Jamie Neumann) blew the whistle for her dogs. George asks her about the large stone building in front of them. She tells them it stores the villages food from the black bears in the area, and as she says insulting things about the ‘blacks’, it’s clear she isn’t talking about bears any longer. After she leaves, George tells Atticus and Leti that they could be holding Montrose in this building’s fortified basement. Our heroes are walking back to the lodge after dark and George remembers that Atticus’ mother Dora (Erica Tazel) told him about an ancestor her family doesn’t talk about, Hanna (Joaquina Kalukango) who was Titus’ slave and was pregnant with his child. She was able to escape the fire that killed Titus. Atticus is a direct descendant of Titus; the birthright Montrose wrote in his letter. The monsters from the previous night emerge from underground, but a whistle blows sending the monsters away. Christina arrives on horseback with her whistle. She tells them to get back to the lodge. As she rides away, George and Leti forget about the monster attack that just happened.
Atticus walks into a dungeon/lab where the lord of the manor and Christina’s father, Samuel Braithwhite (Tony Goldwyn) is having his liver removed without anesthesia. George is back in his room and finds a hidden passage behind his bookcase. He walks into a large library and finds a book, Order of the Ancient Dawn. Samuel walks over to Atticus and Christina who has joined them. He asks about Genesis 2:19, Christina recites it. Samuel: “Adam is sharing in creation. Assigning each creature its final form and its station in its hierarchy in nature.” Atticus adds putting everything in its place. Atticus asks if Samuel sees himself as God in this story, no Samuel says he is Adam and he has worked hard to return to paradise. Atticus asks about his father but Samuel ignores him and tells him he doesn’t want to see him until the ceremony. Atticus turns to Christina, he has figured out that Christina has put a spell on George and Leti, making them forget about the monsters. She tells him the spell is for anyone who stumbles upon the monsters. Christina thinks about it and takes the spell off. You can hear Leti scream from the distance after remembering what happened. Christina puts a forcefield at their doors, locking them in their rooms. She leaves to help a cow deliver its calf, but instead of a calf it is a baby monster. Christina thinks it is cute. [I disagree.]
The monsters are chittering outside while Leti tries to get out of her room. Someone is at the door, it’s Atticus. He’s able to get in. They look at a picture of Adam with a serpent dick trying to penetrate Eve. Atticus and Leti discuss Leti reciting the 23rd Psalm as she ran to the car. Leti tells him she hadn’t recited it since she was a child, when her mom, who was always showing up with a new man, left to ‘go to church’ and didn’t come back for a week. Leti was a frightened little girl who waited by the window reciting the verse. Atticus tells her he’ll never abandon her and they kiss. Strangely enough, Atticus is in his room tapping Morse code to George. Someone begins shooting at him. A woman in a military uniform (Jamie Chung) stabs him. He calls her Ji-ah, and he warns her to stop. Soon they are in a vicious knock down drag out fight. In his room, George turns around, and it’s Atticus’ mother Dora. He knows this is impossible since she is dead. Now we switch between the three rooms. Leti is making out with faux Atticus, in his room, Atticus is fighting for his life, and George is dancing with Dora. She, George and Montrose grew up together in Tulsa. They talk about a game they played as kids, What If. They go in for a kiss but George kisses her forehead, he knows this can’t be real. Things are getting a little too heated for Leti, and it turns from hot to horrible when faux Atticus unzips his pants and pulls out a serpent dick. Meanwhile Atticus is strangling Ji-ah. While these nightmares are going on, members of The Sons of Adam look into their rooms enjoying the show that Christina created.
“Don’t you ever let them make you question yourself. That’s how they win. They want to terrorize us…make us scared…but Letitia Fucking Lewis doesn’t get scared, does she?” George Freeman
Eventually our shaken heroes are let out of their rooms. William informs them it’s time for dinner, it is a black-tie affair, but it’s only for men. Leti will have to eat out in the veranda like they did earlier for lunch. After William leaves, Atticus tries to tell George and Leti about something bad that happened in Korea, but George cuts him out, he tells Atticus he was a good boy and now he’s a good man. He warns the youngsters that they are trying to get into their heads and make them scared, don’t let them do it. George has some good news; he might have discovered something to get them out of here.
Attired in black tie George and Atticus walk into the dining room to the members confusion and displeasure. Samuel walks in and tells everyone has a special dinner treat for them, on everyone’s plate is a small slice of his liver. [They didn’t even bother to cook it.] Atticus advises George not to touch it. George gets up and takes over the proceedings. He tells them he has found their bylaws. There is a loophole, one who is a direct descendent of Titus Braithwhite can give orders to the rest of the members. Atticus is a direct descendent, what they would call son of son. Even Samuel, who is a Braithwhite, but is a descendent of Titus’ cousin, isn’t a son of son. Atticus orders everyone except Samuel to leave the room. They grumble about it, but they do as they’re told. Atticus orders Samuel to return his father. Samuel explains that unlike the other members, he has his limits, Atticus is useful for the ceremony, but he shouldn’t push his luck. He allows Atticus and George to leave.
Atticus and George go back to the stone tower to look for Montrose. Dell walks up behind them, happily ready to shoot them when Leti sneaks up behind her and smashes something against her racist head, putting her out for the count. While this is going on, Montrose has somehow dug a tunnel out of the tower and emerges from the ground. Just as he emerges, George says hi to him. He is surprised and angry that they came to rescue him. Atticus reminds him about the letter he sent, Montrose says he wrote it under duress and since they hadn’t spoken in five years, he didn’t think he’d be stupid enough to come. George tells him not to speak to Atticus like that, but Montrose tells him he’ll deal with his son as he wishes. Leti reminds them they need to get out of there. They steal the silver Bentley to escape but they crash into one of the magic invisible barriers Christina creates. Samuel shoots Leti in the stomach to punish Atticus for trying to escape before the ceremony. He tells Atticus to choose between Montrose and George, Samuel makes the decision for him and shoots George.
“What I know is our destinies are not decided by our fathers.” Christina Braithwhite
Women dressed in white prepare a naked Atticus [Jonathan Majors must have never missed a workout in his life.] for the ceremony. Of course, Christina is there. He’s wearing clothes again when she tells him that Samuel plans on opening a portal to the Garden of Eden, using Atticus’ blood since he has the powers of Titus in him. [Something like that.] To get Atticus to go along with this, they will revive both Leti and George. She gives him a ring that Titus had worn. Leti wakes up covered in blood, she’s in shock and tries to clean the blood off herself in the bathroom screaming in horror in a towel. George is still in bad shape; he and Montrose are talking. He reminds Montrose of a time when they were kids and Montrose would make signs to cheer on his favorite Negro Major League team when they returned to town. George wonders why he stopped, Montrose tells him their father beat him badly for doing it. George regrets that their father beat the love out of Montrose. He asks Montrose to show Atticus whatever love he still has. Montrose warns George about trying to interfere on how he raises his son, George tells him Atticus might not be his son. This opens up some old wounds between the brothers.
Gil Scott-Herron’s Whitey on the Moon plays during the ceremony. Electricity is flowing through Atticus and it looks like it’s working, a portal is opening to the Garden of Eden. Samuel is ecstatic while Atticus screams in pain. The ring that Christina gave Atticus opens up and a black mist comes out. Instead of seeing Adam, Atticus sees his pregnant ancestor Hannah. The lodge begins to fall apart and Samuel turns into stone. She begins to run like she did when Titus tried to do this in 1833 and burned the place down. Atticus follows her and escapes before the entire mansion collapses. It appears that all of the Sons of Adam die alongside Samuel, but Leti, Montrose and George got out of the building. Leti calls for Atticus and begins crying, she leads him to their car, George is dead. Atticus fall apart, calling for his uncle [or dad].
Atticus, George, and Leti end up at the Braithwhite mansion, a large structure that was built to replace the original mansion that burned down in a fire that killed Titus Braithwhite, the family patriarch who built the family fortune from slavery and founded the Sons of Adam, a secret society. Samuel Braithwhite heads the family now along with his daughter Christina who we met in the last episode saving our heroes from the racist yahoos in the pickup truck. It turns out that Atticus is family too, he is a direct descendent of Titus who impregnated his slave Hannah. It turns out, Atticus is the only direct descendent of Titus, and Samuel and the Sons of Adam need him for a secret ceremony, to open a portal to the Garden of Eden. Titus tried this in 1833 and burned the joint down. Christina has magical powers, and uses them on Atticus, George and Leti, making Leti and George forget about the previous monster attacks, and creating terrifying illusions for them that entertained the Sons of Adam. They are able to find Montrose, but it isn’t a happy family reunion. Montrose is a dick. Christina isn’t happy that the Sons of Adam won’t let her participate because she’s a woman, so she gives Attius a ring that Titus had. During the ceremony after the portal opens, the ring opens releasing a dark mist that disrupts the ceremony. Atticus sees Hannah and instead of entering Eden, Samuel and his followers are turned to stone and die, and the mansion collapses upon itself. Hannah leads Atticus out. His family also escapes, but his uncle George dies from a gunshot wound courtesy of Samuel Braithwhite. Rest in peace Uncle George, burn in hell Samuel.
Things didn’t get easier for Atticus, Leti, and George, they only got weirder. The Braithwhite’s are cultist who want to return things back to the Garden of Eden, where everything knew its place. Since the Sons of Adam are also racist and sexist, that means people of color and women knowing their place. Christina is powerful and smart, she doesn’t appreciate them trying to prevent her from being a boss, so she helps Atticus bring them down. They didn’t show her dying in the mansion, so I’m sure she’s still around. Whether she’s a friend or foe of Atticus is up for debate. If she is a friend, she’s the type you never turn your back on. Christina used her power to gaslight the trio. She made George and Leti forget about the previous monster attacks, and created illusions that left them dazed and confused. Leti and George thought Atticus was suffering from PTSD after he told them about monsters attacking them. It’s much like white society making us believe the things that are happening to us can’t possibly be happening. What do you mean the police are racist and targeting you, just learn how to behave yourself. The Sons of Adam wanted to exploit a black man to achieve a goal they had no intentions to share with him. The Braithwhite fortune was created from slavery, and the kindness Titus extended to his slaves was raping Hannah, creating his direct descendent who Samuel would try to exploit over a century later.
Just as I was enjoying the chemistry of the three leads, George dies. Unless they bring him back with some ancient ritual, Courtney B. Vance is gone. He’ll probable show up again in some flashbacks, or maybe as a ghost, but he won’t be a regular character and that’s too bad. Of course, you’ve got the great Michael K. Williams as Atticus’ father, so maybe he’ll be part of a trio with Atticus and Leti, and bring a new dimension to it. Montrose possibly not being Atticus biological father opens up some interesting avenues. It appears this had been an issue between him and George. It might explain his harsh treatment towards Atticus. With George gone, now would be a goodtime for him to act like a real father to Atticus. I’m impressed by Abbey Lee as Christina. She could well be the big bad of this season, or she might just be an untrusty ally, it honestly could go either way. She is powerful and has her own agenda, Atticus is probably part of it, for good or bad. I don’t know how she’ll be interwoven into the show, but I have to believe she’ll still be part of it all.
The show looks gorgeous, and the costume department should be given high marks for the clothes both Jurnee Smollett and Abbey Lee wore this episode. The set design was great, with the Braithwhite mansion being the haunted mansion of everyone’s nightmares. They didn’t introduce any new monsters, but the cow giving birth to the baby multi-eyed monster creeped me out. The musical selection was eclectic but meaningful. They used Gil Scott-Heron’s Whitey on the Moon to great affect liked they used James Baldwin in the last episode. This episode along with the season premiere makes me confident this will be a great season of TV.